Introduction: Angelica Pendant
As part of my homeschooling fine arts program, I am learning how to wire weave. I have been working with fine silver wire and Swarovski's, so when I found this crystal, I decided to make a necklace. Although the final product and the planning sketch look (quite) different, the general inspiration was angel wings. Actually, to begin with it was just a daytime/nighttime pair(I have a black crystal just like this one), but as it evolved, I ended up choosing angel wings as the final design.
All in all, I am pretty happy with how the necklace turned out, there are a few things I would do differently if I did it again, and a few things I don't like, but don't know how to change. I will involve these in the steps as I go, and if anyone has any better suggestions, please let me know, because I am still learning.
- 18, 20, and 28 ga fine 99.99 silver wire. I am using dead soft.
- 20mm crystal AB Swarovski helios pendant.
- 16in of chain
- jump rings
- lobster clasp
- pencil torch (It needs to be able to melt fine silver)
- soldering area
- cross locking tweezers in third hand
- quench bowl
- pliers, I used strait, round nosed, bent nosed, nylon jaw, and bail pliers.
- wire cutters, I have one heavy duty cutter and one lighter duty
- ring clamp
- steel wool
- awl (a thin, sharp one is good)
- silicone bobbin(for 28ga)
Step 1: Planning Stage
To start off, I made a drawing of what the pendant should look like when done. I am rather terrible at drawing, so this is always more a construction guideline for me than something to look at, and the finished product doesn't look much like the sketch. I originally planned on using 16ga as well, but I found it too complicated to keep track of, and so I just stuck with 18 and 20ga.
After I made the rough outline of the final product, I made the actual construction guide to refer to. For the bail, I decided to use modified sumac weave for the bail and some sort of roughly triangular weave for the body to look like feathers. Modified sumac weave is readily available on the internet, so if you can't understand my (rather poor) weaving instructions, there are plenty of videos to watch, but I don't know the name of the triangular weave.
I think I somehow indicated to myself that I was supposed to stitch the two pieces together, but I don't see it any where. Anyway, wether I said it or not, the second picture is supposed to indicate the two pieces I was going to weave and then sew together. (great job, me, stick with jewelry making, not drawing)
Step 2: Cut the Silver Wire
Using a sharpie and a ruler to mark out the lengths, cut the silver wire. I cut:
- one 9.5cm piece of 18ga
- one 8cm piece of 18ga
- two 7cm pieces of 20ga
- two 6cm pieces of 18ga
- two 4.5cm pieces of 18ga
- one 2.5cm piece of 18ga
You could probably use just 18ga for the design, but I like the slightly smaller inner loop, and it graduates the balled ends a little bit more. I would not however, try just 20ga unless you are planning on using a much smaller crystal, it was hard enough to hold the crystal in place as it was. But I don't know, maybe someone out there knows how to use 20ga for tension settings more effectively. If so, please let me know!
Step 3: Ball the Ends of the Wire
Place the wire in a third hand in a soldering/heatproof environment. Make sure the wire is strait up and down! Otherwise you will end up with crooked balls! Once you are confident that the wire is strait up and down/the area is not going to catch fire/you won't need to go running down the stairs within the next few minutes/ etc... turn on your torch however the instructions say (I am not an expert on turning on torches, but there is usually a trigger to pull down and a flame lock). Bring your torch close to the wire until the tip of the wire is in the tip of the more intense blue part of the flame. The flame beyond the wire will start turning orange (I don't know why, it's probably a loss of heat from the flame into the wire or something) and the wire will glow red hot. As soon as you see the end of the wire melting(it can take a minute), start moving the flame slowly up the wire. Stop when the ball reaches 2-3 mm in diameter for the 18ga, and 1-2mm in diameter for the 20ga. Quench the wire, and repeat on both ends of all of the wires. Personally, I find it useful to dry off the wire and put it back on the "chart" where I found it. Relative sizes should help you find the right ones, but the length the wires will change, and for absent minded people like me, it's nice to have a piece of paper to remind you what is what.
Step 4: The First Weave
Place the 9.5cm, 8cm, and one of the 7cm wires one on top of the other, as the pictures show, and mark where they line up on the sides and mark all three down the middle.
Wind the bobbin full of 28ga wire. If you are looking for a specific amount, 15ft usually works well, but I just wind a full bobbin at this point, I'll use it eventually.
On the top(9.5cm) wire, start wrapping the wire with 28ga up until the first mark, leaving an inch or two tail. Once you get to the first mark, add the second(8cm) wire. Wrap twice around both wires, twice around the second wire, twice around both, twice around the top, etc... until you get to the second mark. Once you get to the second mark, add the third(7cm) wire. Wrap twice around second and third, twice around third, twice around second and third, twice around second, twice around first and second, twice around first, twice around first and second, etc... At this point you can probably put the weave into a ring clamp and keep going until you reach the end of the third wire. Go through the same process you used to add on the wires in reverse to bind off and wrap until you get to the end of the first wire.
Cut the 28ga as close to the weave as you can and crimp it in place with the bent nose pliers. Repeat on the other side to get rid of the tail.
Step 5: Preparing for the Second Weave
The second weave is a bit trickier. To prepare for the weave, we need to have the two 6cm 18ga pieces bent at 90 degree angles about two centimeters from the end. The reason for this is that the bent pieces of the 6cm wires are woven together with the 2.5cm wire to create the bail. Instead of actually measuring 2cm from the end of the wires, I lined up the two 6cm wires and lay the 2.5 cm wire next to them, with the ball slightly in front of the 6cm wire balls. I then marked the wires with a permanent marker and used strait nose pliers to bend them roughly 90 degrees. The 2.5cm wire then goes between the smaller sides of the wires to be woven into a bail.
Step 6: Weave the Bail
Starting where we did in the last step, with the 2.5cm wire in between the bent parts of the 6cm wires, we are going to weave them together using the modified sumac weave. Leaving a longer tail at the bottom than normal, maybe 3-4 in, wrap your 28ga twice around the left most wire to secure it. That will be wire one. From there, wrap around the back of the 2.5cm wire(wire two) and pull the 28ga to the front. Wrap back between wires one and two, and wrap behind the third wire. Between two and three, wrap to front, between one and two, wrap to front, around wire one and wrap behind, between one and two, etc... Continue until you reach the balls, and bind off by wrapping the middle wire. Cut the wire from the bobbin and crimp the end but don't cut the tail at the bottom! That tail will be used later to sew the bail closed.
Step 7: The Second Weave
The second weave goes practically the same as the first, with a few exceptions. The two 4.5cm wires make the first wire, the two 6cm and the one 2.5cm wires woven together make the second wire, and the second 7cm wire makes the third wire. Lay them out with the two 4.5cm wires on top of the second wire, touching the bail, lay the 7cm wire underneath them and mark where they line up. Wrap one of the 4.5cm wires until the first mark, add the second wire, weave to the second mark, add the third wire, and weave until the bail. When you get to the bail, wrap on the third wire until you are past the bail, and start the weave again, adding the second 4.5cm wire on top of the second wire. Weave to the balls and bind of just like you did on the first weave.
The weave after the bail is much easier than the weave before the bail. Someone with more foresight and planning than I have probably would have wound two bobbins for this step and started from the middle and gone out. This is what I intend to do if I ever make this necklace again, but unfortunately, I was not smart enough this time.
Now that all of the weaving is done, I would suggest you take #0000 steel wool to the weaving to get off any remaining sharpie marks. The sharpie marks are very useful, but not attractive on the finished piece!
Step 8: Finishing the Bail
Now that both weaves are finished, you can go back and finish the bail. Using stepped (or bail making!) pliers, fold the strip at the middle until the balled ends touch the main body of the weave. Using an awl and a pair of pliers, "stitch" the front of the bail to the body of the weave. This is what you will use the extra long tail for. If you cut off the tail on the bail, just cut five to ten inches of 28ga wire and wrap twice around one of the balls before starting. Once you are satisfied that the bail is "stitched" in place well enough, wrap twice around any of the wires, cut the tail, and use your pliers to crimp the ends in place.
For this step and the "stitching" of the two halves together, I have no advice other than what I offered. I am very poor at stitching weaves together, and need more instruction myself than I can give. I am sure that there are good videos available out there somewhere, and if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. As it is, the stitching is probably my least favorite part of the project.
Step 9: Shaping the Pendant
Put the two completed weaves one on top of the other in the ring clamp. This should help to get roughly the same shape on both weaves. There is a right and wrong side to the triangular weave, so make sure it's on the inside! One side at a time, bend the weaves around the middle into a symmetric shape roughly resembling a teardrop. This is not the final shape, so you don't need to worry about shaping the balls at the ends, that comes later, for now you can just leave the ends of the weave strait and just worry about the middle. Once you bent the shape in the ring clamp, tinker with the shapes until they hug the outline of the crystal. It should sit nicely in the bottom piece(the first weave) and the second weave should fit over it. Make sure that the crystal will not fall through either side of the pendant.
Step 10: Stitching the Two Halves Together
Once again, this is my least favorite step. It is difficult to get the wire through the weave and even harder to get the stitching to look good. I have found that it works better to push the awl through both layers at once instead of one at a time, but it's still not easy.
Starting about a third of the way up the side of the weave, wrap the 28ga twice around one of the outer wires. I had to cut a 10-15in piece of 28ga instead of working from the bobbin for this step. My pictures show the first side being stitched without the crystal in the middle. That is probably fine, but once again I would suggest sticking the awl through both layers at once and not opening the halves to get at the inside.
Stop the stitching about 3/8in from the top and tuck in the end of the wire. Cut off the tail at the other end and crimp in the ends of the wire. Place the crystal in the middle and repeat for the other side.
Once the halves are stitched together, you will need to shape the bottom. I did not use anything but the shape of the pendant to hold the crystal in place, so start by pressing in the shape right underneath the crystal. This will tighten the weaves around the crystal. Once the shape is tight enough that you are sure the crystal won't fall out, start pulling the balled ends out into a feathery pattern, as shown in the picture. I left the innermost wires pointing in, and splayed the rest of the wires out to make the tips of the wings. If you look closely, you can see that I pulled the outermost wire on the bottom half out beyond the outermost wire of the upper half to create the graduated look of the wings. The rest are roughly the same from top to bottom.
Step 11: Adding the Chain
Now that the pendant is done, all that's left is to make it into a necklace by stringing it on a chain.
Start with 16in of chain. If I had thought about it/had it available, I would have used 2x3mm or 3x4mm curb chain for a pendant of this size, but I didn't have any on me at the time. Using flat nose and bent nose pliers(I ended up using my crimping pliers. Oops.), open a jump ring and put it on one end of the chain. Repeat for the other side, but add a lobster clasp. Thread either side of the chain through the bail and close the clasp.
That's it! The Angelica Pendant is finally done.
Step 12: Ta-da!!
All that's left to do is admire your pendant from as many different viewpoints as you can find. (until you realize that the dog is barking, start another project, need to rush off to work, simply get bored, etc...) One thing I find interesting is that the crystal seems almost yellow on any background other than white. I'm not quite sure why that is, but that is something to keep in mind when you pick your crystal. It's probably the result of the 'AB' backing, so it may look better in just plain white, but the AB looks so cool! I don't know what I would choose. I've never had the problem with any other color of AB, so if you really want the AB you might want to consider choosing a baby blue or light pink crystal instead. Anyway, this was a long, fun, challenging project for me, and I hope you get just as much fun out of it as I did.
Runner Up in the